What good comes from sharing a 620-horsepower supercar for two drivers in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series? Besides the pure thrill and excitement?
For Dr. Jim Norman and his son, Josh, it’s the best form of father-son bonding they can find.
“I was looking for an opportunity to have Josh as a racing teammate, and there are only a few places you can find that,” Jim Norman said.
“This was the perfect chance. He’s my best buddy, my best friend, and I love spending time with him. We’re both passionate about racing, and we are taking advantage of a rare opportunity.”
The two series rookies are sharing the No. 71 Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo fielded by BAD Lambo Racing in the third season of the series in North America.
They’re both new to the Super Trofeo series, but racing is not new for them.
The passion started for Jim when he was a teenager. His dad owned multiple dealerships, so cars were a major part of his life. He started racing in Sports Car Club of America competition in high school and college, but stopped when he started medical school.
“Even when I wasn’t racing, I was still at the track,” Jim said. “I always went to the races, and it got to a point after med school that I was a track surgeon and track doctor. It has always just been a part of who I am.”
After his surgical residency, Jim took to the air rather than the track. He bought an airplane and started air racing. But the dangers of that sport turned him back to auto racing in 2005.
Since then he has spent every opportunity at the racetrack. He’s raced in the IMSA GT3 Challenge, GRAND-AM Rolex Series, American Le Mans Series, North American Endurance Cup and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series, where he’s picked up several championships and numerous wins and podium finishes, including winning the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona in the GX class in 2013.
Jim Norman, 56, balances racing with being regarded as the leader of minimally invasive parathyroid surgery and a father to his two kids. That’s where the father-son bonding becomes even more important. And luckily Josh followed in his father’s footsteps with a passion for the sport.
Josh Norman, 21, got his first experience behind the wheel of a race car on his 16th birthday after watching his dad race for years in multiple cars in multiple series.
“I had gone to the races,” Josh said. “He had already been doing it for a long time at that point, but I never had been behind the wheel. My 16th birthday present was a Skip Barber school, and that’s when I got my first taste of racing.”
Since then, Josh has driven in one-off races in different series with different cars as he balances being a full-time biology major at the University of Florida.
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North American series represents his first full-time, full-season ride. And he’s co-driving with the man that he watched race as a kid.
“Racing with my dad has its ups and downs,” Josh said. “First off, it’s a really cool thing. How many people get to bond at the track like this? But he’s still my dad, and he’s not afraid to tell me things I’m doing wrong or could do better.”
Jim knows the pressure faced by drivers and acknowledges his son faces a steep learning curve as he learns the car and the tracks.
“My biggest thing is that I can’t be a Little League dad,” Jim said. “Josh has two great coaches in Patrick Lindsey and Spencer Pumpelly, and my role is to just be there to support him and make sure he’s having fun.”
Having a good time is the number one goal for the Normans as they compete for the Amateur Drivers Championship. They have produced a strong start, with two podium finishes during the first two rounds of action in May at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
But they also race with an important message. High blood calcium is bad.
“We wanted to race with a purpose, and this is one that is near and dear to my heart,” Jim said. “Calcium problems are bad, and osteoporosis affects a lot of women. In the racing world there aren’t a lot of women, but we all have wives, mothers, sisters and daughters that we care about.
“The car is a big billboard, and we wanted to bring awareness to osteoporosis and high blood calcium and let people know there are things you can do.”
The livery of the No. 71 Huracán is a reflection of what osteoporosis bones look like under a microscope. It’s not quite complete, though, as Josh’s sister, a professional artist, will add her own mark to the car. She already has designed and painted his helmet.
The duo also plans to have events at future races to raise awareness, including osteoporosis screenings for women. For more information visit: www.highbloodcalciumisbad.com.
The next stop for father-son bonding will be June 25-27 at Watkins Glen International, for Rounds 3 and 4 of the championship.